“Hardik ought to bid farewell to Rohit and Kohli with dignity,” says Shoaib Akhtar of Indian cricket’s post-World Cup shift.

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Shoaib Akhtar
"Hardik ought to bid farewell to Rohit and Kohli with dignity," says Shoaib Akhtar of Indian cricket's post-World Cup shift.
According to Shoaib Akhtar, it should be Hardik’s duty to ensure that Rohit and Kohli part ways amicably if the transition phase occurs.

As is usual after an ODI World Cup, Team India is poised to enter a time of adjustment. The players and supporters will need some time to move past their sadness from the final, but the selectors must consider the future as quickly as possible. When the next ODI World Cup is held in 2027, India’s captains Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will be 40 and 39 years old, respectively. Rahul Dravid, the head coach, reportedly made the decision to leave.

Does the BCCI believe that at that point, both Rohit and Kohli can play at their peak? Although their quality is beyond question, it may be too much to expect to overcome two of Indian cricket’s biggest names in just four years. The board and selectors must make a decision now, rather than thinking about what might happen in four years.

The T20 World Cup is slated for June of the following year. Hardly enough time to shift focus to the smallest possible format. For India, roughly speaking. They don’t have a head coach or captain, officially. Although Hardik Pandya has been leading India in Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) for the past 12 months or so, it is still unclear, at least officially, if he will lead India in seven months in the USA and the West Indies.

Will Rohit and Kohli also be taken into account? Since the 2022 World Cup in Australia, the talented pair has not appeared in a single Twenty20 International.

Was it, perhaps, because of the domestic attention on the ODI World Cup? Given how well Rohit led the team in the just finished 50-over tournament and how often he has hinted that the T20 World Cup is on his mind in recent months, it is only right that he be given one last chance to win an ICC title.

According to Shoaib Akhtar, Rohit Sharma is the greatest opener available.
Shoaib Akhtar, a former speedster for Pakistan, believes that Rohit is the best opener India will receive and that both he and Kohli have a lot of cricket left in them. “Do Rohit and Kohli still have it in them to play cricket? Indeed, without a doubt. Is there an opener who is currently better than Rohit in the world? You don’t, he said, refuting Zee News.

Shoaib Akhtar believes that if there is a transition period, Hardik should be in charge of making sure it concludes smoothly, provided he takes on the captaincy job. Shoaib Akhtar cited Dhoni’s relationship with Sachin Tendulkar as an illustration, along with the way Kohli treated Dhoni after the latter had abdicated the captaincy.

“Dhoni showed Sachin Tendulkar respect when he arrived. Virat showed Dhoni respect when he arrived. He also showed him respect when Rohit took over for Virat. Hardik Pandya will now have to decide how to send these two outstanding players out. He must now put in his put down. And he needs to politely say farewell to them. They are deserving of this regard. I may be exerting pressure on Hardik Pandya, but he must show Rohit and Kohli the respect they deserve. They are the reason he is on the team. He ought to repay them for the kind of favors they have done for him on the squad. Furthermore, before they are released, they should be treated with dignity as they are Indian cricket icons.” Shoaib Akhtar added.

The Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee would also need to be alert to another crucial detail. Hardik is prone to injuries. Hardik suffered an ankle injury during the ODI World Cup, despite having well designed workload control modules and being wrapped in cotton wool for a significant portion of the year. Hardik twisted his ankle trying to field his own bowl, which is an unpleasant incident that can happen to anyone, but the selectors would be careful before appointing him as the official captain for white-ball teams.

India’s vice-captain for Twenty20 Internationals, Suryakumar Yadav, is currently leading his team through a five-match series against Australia. Hardik will probably continue as captain for the South Africa T20Is beginning on December 10 because it seems doubtful that he would recover in time.

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